Ryan, we’ll see you soon…
Perhaps you had met Ryan. You would remember him if you had.
He had an inquisitive way of engaging people. He leaned into you when he
listened; a slight grin that let you know he was really listening to what you
said, and had something ready to say back. Clever, quick, funny. One of those
guys that you make a note of in the back of your mind, "Ryan's going
And he threw it all away. For some people in Africa whose names I'll never know. He threw it all away for them on a dark highway
between Blantyre and Lilongwe. And now, if you add up the columns
it doesn't make any sense. His sweet wife and three daughters, lost without
lover and dad, facing a future of uncertainties. The bleak trip back across the Atlantic. The pain which has no destination.
We weep for the loss. We weep for the unrealized future. We weep for a leader
who never got his chance.
He was delivering corn. Corn to those unnamed Africans who with grateful hands
took the corn so their children could live, so mother's milk could flow, so the
family could survive another month. But on the trip home, cars went out of
control and metal struck metal and some of the fragile bodies didn't survive.
One of them was Ryan's. So you could argue he didn't throw it all away, it was
snatched from him. He certainly did not INTEND this ending, this way.
But he had made decisions to follow Jesus that allowed him to be in that place,
so his life could have meaning, and it did. It does.
Yesterday was the funeral, the saying goodbye to his body…until the general
resurrection. We'll see you soon, my friend.
We all throw it all away for something, don't we. Ryan chose well. He risked
wisely. He threw it all away for his African friends. But that doesn't really
capture it…it goes beyond Africa; he threw it
all away at the cross of obedience.
Of course he had hoped to live to be an old man and rock his grandchildren to
sleep: but that's a lesser privilege. A lesser privilege than following the
Christ on the path to which He invites us.
Death is not the enemy of the Christ-follower. If He taught us anything He
taught us that. A life poorly lived is the enemy of the Christ-follower. Ryan
understood, he made the right decisions. Well done, Ryan.
In fact, he did turn out to be a leader – he leads us down the path of
sacrifice, Ryan laid down his life for his friends. And there is no greater
Makes you think, doesn't it? What are you throwing yours away for? If it's
something small, then I weep not for Ryan, but for you. Throw your life hard,
throw it straight, but throw it. No one can take from you that which you've